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Orogenic Systems

The Department is located in the foreland of the Appalachian Orogen which has provided over the years many research targets to faculty and students. Recent work has focused on the uplift and denudation history of the Appalachian Plateau (Dr. Toro and students), on the foreland basin structures imaged in detail by 3D (Dr. Gao and students) and 2D seismic (Toro and students). We have also used the geochronology of the Tioga volcanic ashes interbedded with the Marcellus Shale to elucidate the subsidence and fill history of the basin (Drs. Toro and Weislogel).

Dr. Jaime Toro has investigated the tectonic evolution of the Arctic Region by carrying out field research in Northeaster Russia and Northern Alaska for the past 12 years. Current research targets the early Paleozoic tectonics of the Northeastern Brooks Range of Alaska (photo to the right is PhD student Ben Johnson in the Brooks Range in Aug. 2013). This research involves field work, structural analysis, U-Pb and Ar/Ar geochronology and geochemistry.

Dr. Amy Weislogel is interested in the interaction between sedimentation and tectonics. Current projects focus on the tectonic evolution of the Tibetan Plateau prior to the Himalayan collision, and on the chronostratigraphy of the Karoo Basin in South Africa. Dr. Weislogel and her students frequently use U-Pb dating of detrital zircons as a tool in her research.

Research Resources and Links

The Department has excellent computer, microscopy and imaging equipment, a complete mineral separation laboratory, rock cutting and crushing facilities, as well as access to a state-of-the-art electron probe with cathodoluminescence detector housed in the Forensics Department, and an XRD instrument shared with Engineering. Faculty have established research links with the University of Arizona Geochron Center, the Stanford/USGS SHRIMP-RG Laboratory, the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey and other research groups in Tectonics across the country.